The holidays have been set against a backdrop of Supertramp. I have re-discovered the band and some of their great stuff on Youtube. I can report that I have negotiated Christmas and New Year 2018 with the usual fraught difficulty. I tried to have time off, but largely failed. I tried, in vain, to restrict the pressie distribution list. Still too much retail ambushing and manipulation on offer and I was consumed with the annual guilt and worry. The invites for Christmas dinner at Chez Al were rather more difficult to come by than last year. We still ate late though and the guest dogs behaved with unreserved contempt for my kitchen furnishings, managing to quietly masticate their way through some of the overhanging table cloth and a couple of discarded napkins. They wont be sated until they have seats at the table. Rascals.
There's been no running for months now and New Year was marked by its continuing absence. The two youngsters did manage to attend the Guisborough Woods fell race on the 27th. One with Salomons, the other armed only with road shoes (hardly armed, more saddled). One won. The other was pictured on the deck at the bottom of a muddy incline awkwardly entangled with another unfortunate. A new pair of Salomon Speedcross arrived 2 days later for her, but they arrived too late to save the need for a prewash and subsequent setting for heavy soiling. In fairness she still came back with a bottle of wine, so not all bad. It might not be long until the 3 of them are all running, with Linds' rocking up at park-runs now and making light work of her previous PB's. Could make for a canny running team.
It was a late night on Hogmanay. This left me groggy on New Years day morning, a state I have studiously avoided for the past 10 years or so. In the early afternoon, some of the family attempted the Morpeth 11k. Once again an observer, I took my guest up to the top of the main race climb with some pots and pans and we contributed to a small and satisfyingly intrusive incident of noise pollution. It registered point two on the Richter Scale. The British Geological Survey were unimpressed. Its something that certainly needs to be worked on, but it was a hoot, banging all that steel together and shouting as the runners sweated and frothed their way past us. After the prize giving, we managed to get out to the pub for a couple of hours. Heaving as usual. An early bed marked an end to the festive tomfoolery and confirmed, once again, my onward grumpy slide into the world of humbug.
I have been trawling through websites in the last few days for some new bike kit. I have been clocking up around 80 miles a week utilising a local 20 mile circuit and the mildest weather ever for December. Just about all the bikes in the ally-stable are afflicted with a well-overdue need for maintenance. One bike came back from a loan with a stuck seat pin, 2 wheels are buckled on another and last time out I had to stop to check why the chain on the Wilier was jumping. Turns out the several of the teeth on the chain-ring are blunt. Not good for a bike that's only 4 years old and has probably only done about two thousand miles, if that. I am certain modern day components are inferior to the older stuff. However, as I'd like to get back to the Alps this year, I need to get out on something, so some money needs to be spent and some repairs and replacements made. In the meantime, 'The Loney' is keeping me company on the reading front after my latest sojourn into Sci-Fi with 'Earth Unaware'. Who thought that was a good title!? I did get Alf Engers biography for Crimbo though, so that'll be the next stop. Anyway, I'm off the dentist just now. Time for a man in a white coat to check out another set of blunt teeth.